The American Heart Association and Manchester design-build firm, PROCON, are working together to make Manchester healthier. In Hillsborough county, 25% of children live in food deserts without access to healthy food. In Manchester, 29% of adults are obese, more than the average of New Hampshire. Healthy habits start at a young age. “We are creating a culture of health in schools with a population that may not have access to everything they need. By presenting fun ways to stay active and eat well, we set students up for a healthier future,” said Joel Richards, Executive Director of the American Heart Association in New Hampshire.
On January 22, the Hip Hoppin’ Hawks, a jump rope team comprised of students from South Londonderry Elementary School, performed an interactive and impressive jump rope routine for Gossler Park Elementary School. The demonstration reinforced the heart-healthy habits that are being learned through the Growing Healthy Hearts program. The program distributes monthly messages to the students and their families about important health topics such as the importance of eating right, the dangers of cigarettes and vaping, and the benefits of physical activity.
Gossler Park Elementary School Principal Lori Upham was joined by PROCON owners Mark and Sally Stebbins, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, and officials from the American Heart Association.
Sally Stebbins commented, “I am happy to see kids learn and develop healthy habits to last them for a lifetime.” Gossler Park Elementary School was also named a Leader in Me Lighthouse School by Franklin Covey based on the program’s success at the school. The Growing Healthy Hearts program complements Leader in Me, which focuses on developing strong leadership skills.
Research shows that kids who are active have better bone health, physical ﬁtness, brain function, attention, and academic performance. They also stay at a healthier weight and have fewer symptoms of depression. The Growing Healthy Hearts program was also implemented at the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester (MBGC) in 2019 and has made a real difference in the kid’s lives, according to the MBGC CEO Diane Fitzgerald.